New Nintendo 2DS XL Review
In Nintendo’s seemingly never-ending mission to keep the DS line fresh, they have unveiled and released the latest DS variant – the New Nintendo 2DS XL. In terms of dedicated handheld gaming devices, the 3DS line is essentially uncontested. Nintendo’s biggest competitor is mobile phone gaming and fortunately for Nintendo, mobile games are generally garbage (there are exceptions – and in the past year, one of the biggest exceptions was Nintendo’s own Super Mario Run). While Nintendo could sit on their laurels, and just stick with the 3DS line, Nintendo has decided to expand their product line with this New Nintendo 2DS XL. How does it stack up compared to its New Nintendo 3DS XL cousin? And is it really the sexiest handheld you can slide into your pocket?
Let me make one thing as clear as possible; the New Nintendo 2DS XL is an absolutely gorgeous piece of hardware. Every square inch of that handheld is crafted with care. I had family members who don’t normally game mention how nice it looks. Most of the device is a black plastic, but there is a teal colored metal frame surrounding the upper clamshell and most of the buttons are teal as well. I absolutely love the color scheme – easily one of my favorite DS color schemes. The top clam shell has a ribbed design, for everyone’s pleasure, with the Nintendo logo embossed in one of the corners. The overall size of the handheld is smaller and lighter than the New Nintendo 3DS XL, which makes it a lot more “portable”. While my 3DS XL fit in my pocket, it felt bulky – but the 2DS XL fit far better and I’m much more inclined to take it out of the house.
In terms of functionality, the 2DS XL is identical to the New Nintendo 3DS XL with one exception – no 3D. For whatever reason, Nintendo decided there was a market for their 3DS product, but without the 3D functionality. While we’ve seen the 2DS before as a tablet-style product, this is the first time it’s been released in a clam shell design. Considering you can turn the 3D functionality off of previous 3DS variants, I don’t get why Nintendo felt the need for a product with it permanently switched off. Maybe there are parents out there who want their kids to avoid 3D functionality – but as a parent myself, my young children have no problem turning the 3D off and leaving it off. Maybe this is a cost-saving measure, as the 2DS XL is priced slightly lower than the 3DS XL. Or maybe it’s just a way to release a slightly smaller product, and on that note, I definitely appreciated the smaller and lighter size. One seemingly setback as a result of the devices smaller size is the stylus, which is embarrassingly tiny. It was especially apparent with a stylus-heavy game like Hey! Pikmin – in which case I had to find a properly sized stylus to use.
“…without any visible speaker holes, I can only guess that it’s magic at work because it sounds just fine”
While the functionality (sans the 3D) is the same, there are a few notable changes. For one, the inside camera is actually attached to the handhelds hinge (along with the Mic and red “battery is almost dead” light). The two external cameras are now on the lower clam shell. Yes, that’s right, the 2DS XL still takes 3D pictures, you just can’t view them in 3D on this handheld, but hey, you can send them to a friend with a 3DS! The button layout is identical to the New Nintendo 3DS XL, including the uber awkward and damn-near pointless c-stick. The top screen is no longer flush with the bezel and instead indented a bit. I know from experience that the 3DS top screen sometimes would get marked up from the ridge of the bottom screen (when it was closed), so I imagine this new design will prevent this.
Amazingly, the speakers are now invisible. This next point will make me sound stupid and probably mocked horrendously under bridges where trolls live, but I have no idea where the speakers are. I assume they still flank the top screen, but without any visible speaker holes, I can only guess that it’s magic at work because it sounds just fine. Although for the ultimate sound experience, I’d definitely suggest using headphones. The device takes Micro SD cards as opposed to the standard SD cards of previous 3DS products. In addition, all of your DS and 3DS game cards will work on the 2DS XL. However, you’ll have to open an awkward flap that reveals both the Micro SD slot and game card slot. The flap helps keep the beautiful aesthetic of the device, but it just doesn’t feel quite right when opening it. The system features the same onboard software the original 3DS had. In fact, some of the menus and screen transitions still refer to the 3DS, which was probably an oversight by Nintendo – but I would be surprised if Nintendo actually patched it out.
“…it is a fact that this 2DS is 2 Damn Sexy!”
The New Nintendo 2DS XL is an interesting piece of hardware. On one hand, it has all the functionality of the New Nintendo 3DS XL, sans the 3D effect. It is smaller and lighter than its 3DS cousin, making it a better product for younger gamers or gamers like me who don’t frequent the gym, ever. However, it’s not without its annoyances. The 2DS stylus is tiny and the game cards are hidden by an awkward flap. The lack of 3D doesn’t make much sense to me and I can only assume Nintendo did it to either cater to parents of younger children or to create a device that was slightly smaller and cheaper. If you have no desire for a handheld with 3D, then the 2DS XL is definitely the way to go, but there probably isn’t enough here to justify “upgrading” if you already own a New Nintendo 3DS XL. It’s worth noting one final time how great this handheld looks – it is a fact that this 2DS is 2 Damn Sexy!
*** New Nintendo 2DS XL provided by publisher ***
- 2 Damn Sexy
- Smaller & Lighter than New Nintendo 3DS XL
- Cheaper than New Nintendo 3DS XL
- No 3D Functionality
- Small stylus
- Awkward flap blocking Game Cards
- C-Stick still sucks